Construction sector attributed to soar in architects’ confidence
Expectations of orders from private housing, commercial and public-sector builders caused the Royal Institute of British Architects’ (RIBA) Workload Index to soar from +26 points in February to +36 last month.
The outlook was most promising in London and the South East, where architects felt most positive about their medium-term workloads, the findings, part of the RIBA’s Future Trends survey, show.
And there were also improvements to staffing levels in many practices, indicating greater stability in the demand for architects, led by the stronger building sector.
Adrian Dobson, director of practice at the RIBA, welcomed the news as a sign of growing confidence about the likelihood of new construction projects getting off the ground.
He said: “Only 2 per cent of respondents expect to have fewer permanent staff in three months’ time.
“We are also seeing a greater number of practices expecting an increase in temporary staff over the medium term. This highlights that there is more certainty about the new-project pipeline.”
Participants in the survey reported feeling best about work orders from the private housing and commercial sectors, with the combined workload from both areas increasing by around 8 per cent every year.
Confidence in the private housing sector was up seven points on February’s survey to +34 last month, while the outlook in the commercial area jumped +15 to +19.
There was also a boost in forecasts of public-sector work, where confidence increased from +1 to +5 from February to March.
And findings from the survey’s Staffing Index were also positive, with larger architects’ practices happiest about their medium-term workloads, followed by medium-sized firms.
While smaller groups were more cautious, the Staffing Index rose overall from +9 in February to +16 last month and only 12 per cent of individuals said they had been underemployed in March.